Many businesses cut back on expenses during a recession and when it comes to the marketing budget it can be difficult knowing which areas to focus on and where to tighten the purse strings. Corporate Christmas cards are often seen as the least effective source of marketing because they offer no direct selling purpose.
What many marketing managers fail to realise however is that during a recession it can be just as important to let your customers know that you are still around and will still be around when the good times return than simply trying to sell them another product that they do not need right now. A corporate Christmas card is a soft form of marketing that does exactly that. More importantly, if you sent a Christmas card to your customers last year then sending a Christmas card during a recession is even more important than ever. Looking at it from a different perspective you could ask yourself what would not sending your customers a Christmas card this year say about your business.
Rather than dismiss Christmas card marketing as an activity borne through necessity have a think too about other marketing mailings that you may have sent this year. I bet not one of them took pride of place on your clients desk or found itself pinned to the office wall for all to see for up to 3 or weeks of the year. You were probably lucky not to have your last mailshot screwed up into ball and used for basket ball practice into the nearest waste paper basket.
If your marketing budget is tight then rather than just print off mailing labels for your whole customer database be a little more selective. Many companies send a Christmas card to their entire history of customers but is that really necessary or cost effective. Probably not, and whilst every business is different you may consider it safe to make a cut off for customers who have not ordered for x number of years. You may want to take things further and order two styles of Christmas card a premium Christmas card for your top customers which have hand written signatures from the company directors and a cheap budget card for everyone else. Be wary of trying to impress your customers too much with flashy personalised Christmas cards as they will think that you are putting more effort into making an impression rather than cutting your own costs to make the products or services you sell them cheaper. There is a fine balance to strike between presentability and respectability.
Remember too that the Christmas card printers struggle too during a recession just like everyone else and many will be slashing their prices especially during the early part of the season when their print presses are idle and they have pallets of stock cards in their warehouse that they have been replenishing during the summer months. In fact August and September are the best times to negotiate the cheapest Corporate Christmas cards and you will that many companies will already be offering extensive early order discount during this time.
When researching Christmas card suppliers always read the small print. You will find that many printers will headline very cheap prices for their cards that soon become more expensive as you come to personalise them. Look out for extra charges for logos, front overprinting, extra colours, signatures printed inside, even hidden charges for envelopes which you would expect to be supplied as standard. Unless you do your homework you may discover that those cheap Christmas cards on screen become much more expensive on delivery.